Sunday, October 19, 2008

Going Native (Again!)

Those of you following this blog for a while will remember that last October I decided to demolish our backyard and plant drought-resistant California natives. Well, I didn’t do the actual demolition and planting; but, along with our fabulous landscaper Joel, I did help guide the project, which changed my whole outlook on gardening. Unable to tell a live plant from a dead one just a year ago, I am now almost obsessed with flora of all stripes.

Not a surprise then when I announced to Tim that we should plant natives in the front, even though we’d be the only house on the block without a lawn. Even more scandalous, I suggested that we build a low fence to protect our new yard, making ours, of course, the only house in the entire neighborhood with a fence. What would people think? Nonetheless, convinced that we were doing the right thing—especially as water becomes more and more precious—we decided to proceed in hopes that others would eventually follow our lead.

It is too hot to plant anything during the summer, so we waited till early October to actually begin the project. In the meantime, Joel and I toured nearby gardens and took pictures of possible fences. Then, finally two weeks ago, he came over and sketched out a plan for the yard. We would keep the hawthorne bushes against the house and our glorious Chinese elm, which everyone loves, but just about everything else would go. Demolition began shortly after. No turning back now!

Joel and I then schlepped over to Theodore Payne, the nonprofit nursery in Sunland, to pick out plants. We bought plenty of my backyard favorites—salvia (i.e., sage), artemisia (strange low-lying plants that look like tribbles), and yarrow—plus some California holly (i.e. toyon), a spiny barberry, and coyote bush. On his own, Joel selected a crepe myrtle tree, two petite maples, lilacs, and star jasmine, which will grow along the fence. Hesperaloes grace our short parkway along the street.

As you can see, the yard is now complete. All we need is a few months and a little bit of rain to get things growing. More pictures forthcoming in the spring!


Ginny said...

Inquiring minds want to know: how did you kill the grass that was there before?

Cindy said...

The gardeners physically removed the grass. But they never really killed it, so we spend a few minutes everyday pulling up blades that have popped up overnight. With the rain this week, it's starting to look pretty green out front and even in the backyard. These yards might be drought-resistant, but they're certainly not low maintenance!

Mike said...

After years of living in various city apartments it was a shock to walk on grass. Barefoot. And in your OWN yard. Since the initial shock I have become curiously enthralled with St Augustine grass and fall into a deep depression if for some reason brown spots appear..I have become chemically dependent, for it...and now practically MOON over my front and rear lawn, extolling the beauties of both to any who will listen, or read. While I can appreciate and even become rather interested in gardening per se, it is weeding that obsesses me. And mowing. And trimming. Oh...and edging. Oh yeah. So I leave the finer subtleties of gardening to Suzanne. Lawns are not low maintenance, oh no. No no no. They are, however, a kind of higher calling, I think. And like many millions in America, I have joined the ranks of Lawnies.

Still, enough of my obsessions! I very much dig your garden, without being an armadillo or anything.

Mike said...

Oh..I uh...didn't mean MOON to read as ambiguously as it did.